Want to quit smoking or vaping?

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Want to quit smoking or vaping?

The options for quitting smoking or vaping are endless, and their effectiveness often debated.

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is one method for kicking the habit.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more people in the US are addicted to nicotine than to any other drug. The nicotine in tobacco leads to physical dependence and can cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when a person tries to quit.

NRT products contain nicotine, but not the other harmful chemicals in tobacco. The American Cancer Society states NRT can help relieve some physical withdrawal symptoms so smokers can focus on the psychological aspects of quitting. Many studies have shown that NRT can nearly double the chances of quitting smoking by helping suppress nicotine withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the following forms of nicotine replacement therapy:

Nicotine patches – The user is weaned off nicotine by switching to lower-dose patches over a course of weeks. Patches can be bought with or without a prescription.

Nicotine gum – This fast-acting method is taken in through the mucous membrane of the mouth. Nicotine gum can be bought without a prescription.

Nicotine nasal spray – It delivers nicotine to the bloodstream fast and relieves withdrawal symptoms quickly. Nicotine nasal spray is only available by prescription.

Nicotine inhalers – They are the most expensive form of NRT and are available only by prescription.

Nicotine lozenges – Smokers choose their dose based on how long after waking up they normally have their first cigarette.

NRT has been deemed to be safe for all adults, except pregnant women and teens. People who are still smoking or using any other form of tobacco should not use NRT until they have stopped. The American Cancer Society suggests talking to a healthcare provider before starting NRT.